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Scope in the arena of Game Testing

The video game industry has witnessed an upsurge like never before over the past few years. The recent recession of 2008-2009 saw the $50 billion gaming industry remain completely unaffected.
Every cell phone company in the world is making an attempt to incorporate fresh and original gaming in its products. Similarly, laptops and home computers are being manufactured to support various gaming features. Not to mention, high-tech gaming consoles are increasingly becoming a rage. Playing games has become no less than an obsession for many people.
To err is human; it is natural that certain slip-ups or miscalculations will be made by the game developers. When you play a newly launched game or one that has had an important update, more often than not, you will come across a few hiccups or malfunctions. One unpleasant criticism (in print, blogs, forums, etc.) about the glitch will result in huge losses to the game product companies.
A decade ago, when the gaming arena was still very new and the scope of play was restricted, it was either just the developer, or one or two testers, that were responsible for all the testing. However, as gaming become more and more intricate and multifaceted, a substantial group of QA resources, called Quality Assurance engineers, became crucial. The responsibilities of the game testers are no less than those of the game developers or designers. Were it not for the testers to find errors, the gaming releasing into the market may disappoint the gamers if they fail to run properly, plummeting the sales of the industry.
There are many preconceived notions about the job of a game tester, like:-
“Testing video gaming can be very exciting!” True: Although the testing appearance drops short of many people’s initial expectations, the job can be a lot of fun. Testers work long tedious hours, but it is in a relaxed environment with people who have similar interests. For those who revel in reconnaissance and dismantling things to find out their workings, are able to cope up with extensive working hours and enjoy an informal atmosphere, the job of a game tester can be very rewarding as an entry-level career.
“Gaming testers play video gaming the entire day!” False: If you seriously want to build a career in the gaming industry, then have a clear vision about this job; game testing job is not just about playing. The focus of this job is to test a game comprehensively in both technical and graphical ways to provide better experience to the customer. Everyone thinks that a game testing job is exciting, but game testers have to constantly replay same level of the same game frequently to verify a bug or certain issues. Therefore, it could prove to be rather monotonous to play a game in such conditions.
“Video Game Tester profile does not require any skill!” False: Gaming testing profile also needs a particular set of skills such as good concentration, analytical mind, good report writing skill, communication skill, passion for gaming etc.
Following jobs are offered by the gaming industry:
• Video gaming programming jobs (designing video plays)
• Video gaming testing jobs
• Art Director
• Concept Artists
• Level Artists
• 3-D Artists
• Animator
The key qualification to be a successful game tester is to have the obsession and avid interest in playing computer gaming. Since gaming industries are providing full time testing jobs, the opportunity for a stable and successful career in game industry has become possible.
Game testing is also similar to a product or web application testing. In this testing, the following things have to be kept in mind:-
• First we analyze the game rules and its behavior as we study and analyze requirements in application testing. We have to gain full knowledge of the game so that we can identify exceptional behavior.
• We have to test whether the game is working properly as it is supposed to. In testing terminology, we say that we have to perform functional testing.
• We have to test the compatibility of the game on different OS/Browser combinations, devices as the end user could use a varied set of devices to play the game on.
• If a game is online, then the game testers must verify whether the game can smoothly handle the customers’ load. In other words, game testers must perform performance testing on game sites.
• In a multi-player game, game tester needs to verify that all players are managed according to game functionality and a fair distribution of game resources is done to all the players.
• Bug reporting is also a significant aspect in game testing, like in any other type of testing. In game testing, also, bug reports need to be created and submitted through a bug reporting system.
• After the bug is fixed, it needs to be verified by the testers to ensure that it has no more impact on the functionality of the game.
Game testing along with quality of software has now become a sought-after career with emphasis on gaining knowledge. Game testing jobs are considered good options for today’s younger generation who are enthusiastic and keen to put in long hours in a career of their interest, which includes good money, too. Given how gaming can hold an end user’s attention for a long period of time, gaming are beginning to be used not just for entertainment, but also for other areas such as education (a brief on this has been blogged at: http://www.qainfotech.com/blog/2011/08/gaming-technology-in-education-%e…). A lot of research is currently ongoing to see how gaming can be successfully leveraged in such areas. Thus the potential in this domain is unlimited and we are sure to see some revolutionary changes in this industry this coming decade offering good career options for various disciplines including software quality testing.

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